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Are we turning into a Cottage Industry?


January 21, 2013

Is this the start of the next shift?

With the extremely deep and ongoing Government cuts putting thousands of people out of work, coupled with a limping economy seeing major retailers crumbling like dominos, is our nation headed towards becoming a cumulative mass cottage industry?

The high unemployment, low job opportunities situation means that more and more people are turning to self employment as their only option. In order to do this on a limited budget, working from home is the preferred option to keep start up costs and ongoing overheads to a minimum.

Working from home means that the economy will see office based businesses such as consultancy, e-commerce and a surge in arts, crafts, baking, food production and seamstress services . This is because these are the sectors that lend themselves well to new start ups. There are more opportunities than ever for people to sell their products via websites, online shopping centers, craft fairs, party plan to name a few, so will this change the way we purchase goods?

With the recent demise of Comet, HMV and Blockbuster, with more to come, or so we are told, will our towns and cities become quieter or turn into a retailer’s heaven? As those cottage industries or e-commerce merchants become more established and start to grow, their need for premises may take them to their local towns. Are we going full circle? Will we see local independent shops make a return? This recent article about CSC, who own the Trafford Centre, shows that maybe the ‘big guns’ are starting to realize a change is coming and now trying to ensure they don’t go the same route.

Are consumers becoming more discerning? We are more passionate about supporting small local businesses than lining pockets of corporations. So will this mean that anyone setting up and renting retail space will be supported and be able to thrive and earn a decent living?

Greedy landlords and councils will have to be more realistic in their charging of rent and rates in order for this to happen, otherwise Britain could become one large ghost town and with shopping being a social occupation for many, could this lead to more social breakdown and isolation for some?

With the emphasis on work life balance, life blend, health and well-being is this perhaps natural progression? Maybe not everyone has been unfortunate enough to lose their job, but have merely taken a major life decision to set up a ‘from home’ production line so that they can build earning an income around family commitments.

Many families in Britain are still faced with family unfriendly employers, we are the worst in Europe. This is the time of year when this comes to light, when children fall ill with winter viruses or schools slam shut at the first snow flurry, exasperated parents have to take time off, make it up, use their annual leave, or rely heavily on extended family. Although having your own business is not easy and can be a round the clock occupation, generally you can pick and choose your hours and if you have to do a school run, or school shuts early it is not as detrimental if you have no one to answer to.

Of course there are other sacrifices in terms of time, effort, low income, but if the whole family are involved they are not as painful to make and in the long term can pay off handsomely.
So are you embarking on a cottage industry style business? What are you hoping to achieve long term? Are premises the ultimate destination?

Let’s hope so, it would be wonderful to think that bricks and mortar businesses are not dead and in time the high streets will be filled with families selling produce and goods and communities can be rebuilt once more.

Feel free to share your experience below, what people should be wary of and how it has benefited your life. Or if you struggle with fitting work into your life, contact me today to see how out-sourcing is fitting into this new shift.

Joanne

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